Activity Report

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.14

Laboratory experience program for the students of Universiti Putra Malaysia

Report from Faculty of Engineering, Shinshu University

A total of 10 members, including undergraduates, postgraduates, and affiliated students of the doctoral course in Chemistry & Materials Systems, and Electrical and Electronic Systems of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) , were invited for a period of 9 days starting June 25, 2018, with the support of the SAKURA Exchange program in Science.

The engineering laboratories of the universities in Japan offer a unique kind of guidance from a global perspective. The experience in the laboratory has a lifelong impact on the public as well as the individual, with a strong sense of belonging and fellow consciousness, and the laboratory is a place for students to mutually study under the laboratory activities that share good and bad times, in addition to strong research guidance. It is a special classroom that cannot be seen in the universities of other countries. This was planned by considering that, gaining such experience at the training site of engineers and researchers which is the basis of such advanced research and advanced technology in Japan, would provide understanding and trust towards Japan.

The details of the implementation include participation in corporate tours, cultural experience tours, graduate school lessons, presentation of student activities at Global Café, and participation in discussions, in addition to the laboratory activities.

photo1 Visiting the permeability test facility at Aqua Innovation Center, Shinshu University

The group visited Seiko Epson Corporation and Marukome Co., Ltd. for corporate tours. At Seiko Epson, they listened to detailed explanation of the company's development, visited an in-house manufacturing planning museum, saw the world's first machine to reproduce copy paper without using water, and asked a lot of questions in response to the size of the scale and the high level of technological strength. At Malcolm, they listened to a detailed explanation about the history, manufacturing methods, ingredients, fermentation process and manufacturing control of miso. Some students learned for the first time that Japan is the world's top country for longevity, in addition to knowing that miso is a health food and many Japanese people eat miso soup almost every day. They visited the automatically controlled fermentation tank and observed the automatic product packaging process, and it seemed that they got a feel for the responsibility for sanitary control and food handling of the food companies, and for the reliability of Japanese products.

For the cultural experience tour, they went to Togakushi which is famous for soba, ninja village, and Togakushi Shrine. Since there were many Muslim students, there was concern as to whether a visit to the shrine would be ok, and hence it was confirmed with the faculty supervisor in charge of UPM in advance, and then the tour proceeded. In addition to enjoying the soba making experience and eating the soba made by them, they ate by trying hard to imitate the Japanese, while they were surprised to know that the Japanese people eat soba by holding the dinner bowl in their hand and slurp the noodles while making a loud noise. Togakushi Shrine is one of the power spots, and by looking at the Japanese tourists who place their hands on the sacred trees and close their eyes to make some wish, they mimicked the tourists and touched the tree. In the Ninja house, there were some short pieces of athletic playground equipment that were used as part of the facility. There was a wall crossing that consumed a considerable amount of energy to use, and the UPM teacher took the initiative and tried it, encouraging the students, and hence the students also truly enjoyed the physical activity. It was understood that the presence of a leader who strove to work hard along with the students was an important factor in motivating the students, and it enhanced the success of the project.

photo2 Soba making experience at the Togakushi soba museum (Nagano city)

In the laboratory experience, the group was assigned to five laboratories, one laboratory for each of the specialized fields of the students, and experienced various laboratory works in a short period of time. It was noticed after listening to the report content at the final presentation that in Malaysia, the research meetings were often held with guiding faculty and individual students. For example, at 9:00 am all the laboratory students and guiding faculty gathered to give seminars, research reports, etc., and it was again noticed that this was a regular event in Japanese laboratories, but new for the Malaysian students. In the Japanese laboratory with equipment such as an electron microscope and an X-ray analyzer, it is common practice for the students or researchers themselves to operate the analyzer to acquire data in case of simple analysis, but in Malaysia, specialized technical workers will operate this equipment, and hence they do not operate large analyzers. It seemed that the students who experienced the operation were pleased that they gained valuable experience, and the researchers noticed the importance of operating the analyzers themselves.

photo3 All participants visiting the assigned laboratory
photo4 Preparation of aqueous solution of Methylene blue for adsorption experiment in laboratory

Finally, they would like to express their gratitude to the SAKURA Exchange program in Science, and also give thanks from their heart to the university for its support, and for giving them valuable experience and opportunity. Thank you very much.

photo5 Commemorative photo taken after results presentation and completion ceremony
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